Sherbrooke Academy Junior Partners with Indigenous Artist Jason Sikoak and Unveils Mural Honouring the 4 Seasons

by Julie Liebman

After months of creative and artistic work, Sherbrooke Academy Junior finally unveiled its outdoor mural, a masterpiece collaboration between the school, an art centre, and a local Indigenous artist.

The journey began last September when Laurence Assouline, Sherbrooke Junior’s principal and Frank Caracciolo, art consultant, brainstormed about how to beautify the schoolyard.
“I’m super proud of what we have accomplished throughout the year!” says Laurence. “We were accompanied by an extraordinary artist who taught the students about his culture and today get to unveil the final result”.

Thanks to a special government grant aimed at sensitizing youth to Indigenous realities, the school partnered with the Preville Fine Arts Centre on the South Shore and recruited Jason Sikoak, an Indigenous artist from Rigolet, Labrador.

“Getting to work with the kids from the outset, before the conception of the art piece was amazing. I got to read with them and let them brainstorm about what they would like to see. We then chose an animal that represents each season and slowly started sketching,” says Jason.

The project was conducted in five phases and each student had the opportunity to collaborate with Jason and chat about his roots, his culture, and his heritage.

He even read books like Give Me Back My Dad and A Promise is a Promise! by Robert Munsch, two stories which take place in Labrador. “One of the most unique components of the project was having the students paint the background with me,” said Sikoak.

They discussed the meaning and the significance of the design within Indigenous culture, history, and the meaning of the art they created.
The mural sits in the school yard above a vegetable garden.
On the day of the unveiling, students and staff were treated to a traditional hoop dance show and were even allowed to join in and freestyle with the performer.

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